Just as most of job applications are now done entirely online, a lot of employee screening is also done online. According to a survey by Workopolis, 93% of employers say that they will search for a potential employee’s social media profile during the interview process.
What this means for job seekers is that if you haven’t already, it is time to clean up your social media. That does not mean close all of your accounts; it is 2015 and employers know that social media exists. What it means is that any inappropriate pictures, tweets or posts that would likely get your application should be taken offline.
For all the great it does for connecting friends, Facebook can be an instant job application killer. 50% of employers in a CareerBuilder survey said they had eliminated job applications who had posted photographs or information that was inappropriate (drug use, excessive drinking, nudity). Other factors, like derogatory comments, badmouthing past employers, profanity and poor grammar have also been mentioned as reasons applications were thrown out.
The first step in cleaning up Facebook is to boost up your privacy settings. Only allow the public to see your profile picture. That will buy some time to clean out any pictures or posts that would turn off potential employers. You can easily untag yourself in pictures that may not show the best side of you and delete any inappropriate past posts.
Rule of thumb: If it would be inappropriate to show that picture or post to a child, take it off Facebook.
Twitter is an amazing source of news and a way for people to stay in touch with the pulse of the internet. However, Tweets do come up in Google searches. That combined with the fact that 66% of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates and there is more than enough reason to go back through old Tweets.
Discriminatory or vicious comments are also job application killers. Those shouldn’t be on Twitter in the first place, but if they are, go back and delete them.
Rule of Thumb: If the comment would be inappropriate at a fancy dinner party, it shouldn’t be on your Twitter.
About 26% of employers will look at a potential candidate’s LinkedIn profile. It is also the first point of entry for a lot of recruiters when researching candidates. 89% of recruiters say that they use LinkedIn to fill a position at some point. 97% of Human Resource departments say they use LinkedIn as a part of their recruiting efforts.
LinkedIn can be a great way to showcase your work, expand on details about past jobs, show what organizations you belong to, and demonstrate interest in a potential career field. It is essentially an online super version of your resume so make it count!
A sound profile also helps you be findable on an employer screening search. When an employer searches you, you want the first thing they see is to be an updated and professional looking profile.
Building a LinkedIn profile can be intimidating, but there are lots of tools online to help you through the process. At the end of the day, what you put into it will be what you get out of it. Having a summary, appropriate picture and job descriptions will help you showcase your talents and experience to potential employers.
Cleaning and updating your online profiles is a time consuming task to do correctly. Get inspiration from looking at what other people in your friend group have done as well as people you look up to. From there, give yourself an afternoon to a full day to clean, research and build your online self to be what you want potential employers to see.
Rule of Thumb: If you were an employer and started searching online, would you hire you?